West Notes: Nuggets, Nikola Jokic, Lakers, Pelicans


The defending champion Nuggets became the first team to beat the Celtics in Boston, escaping with a 102-100 win on Friday. Boston is now 27-1 at home.Nikola Jokic looks to pass against Al Horford

“Both teams were countering each other,” guard Jamal Murray said. “Both throwing haymakers and we were able to have the final punch.”

  • Murray finished with 35 points and star center Nikola Jokic went for 34 on 14-of-22 shooting, with 12 rebounds and nine assists. “They played for themselves and they played for other people,” coach Michael Malone said. “It was high-level basketball from two All-Star players.”
  • Denver’s Eastern swing continues with a visit to the lowly Wizards on Sunday.


The Lakers may have suffered their worst loss of the season — though there are certainly several contenders — in falling at home to the Nets on Friday. Brooklyn had lost 14 of 17 entering the game.

“We just have to decide which team we’re gonna be,” coach Darvin Ham told reporters.

The Lakers had won four of six, but are now just 7-13 since winning the In-Season Tournament. They’re 21-22 overall.

“Talk about the tale of two different halves,” Ham said. “That first half is what we’re working towards… And then the inconsistency showed up and reared its head in the second half… We have to decide which team we’re gonna be.”

He wasn’t finished.

“It’s over for the excuses, man,” he said. “We got to play basketball.”

  • As usual, when the Lakers struggle, they sneak into every trade rumor. And there’s no doubt they are looking to make a major move before the Feb. 8 deadline. They reportedly have spoken to the Hawks about guard Dejounte Murray. But they’re not the only team to have done so. We have that full story here.


The Pelicans made just 10 of 42 from beyond the arc in Friday’s loss to the Suns — just one night after burying a season-high 25 3-pointers in a blowout win over the Hornets.

“They kind of knocked us on our heels early,” coach Willie Green said. “Once they did, it was just hard for us to get back into a rhythm.”

  • New Orleans also surrendered 52 points to Suns guard Devin Booker, about a year after he scored 58 against them. Green questioned his starters’ defensive effort. “That’s where their biggest struggles are. We have talked about it and had honest discussions,” he said. “They can score, but we’ve got to guard.”

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